The Czech Currency – The Koruna
The Czech Republic is part of the EU. But it has not adopted the Euro. Nobody knows for sure when Czech will adopt the Euro – the current estimate is sometime around 2012. That could move back or it could move forward. Nobody knows. Until then, the currency in the Czech Republic is the Koruna, also known as Korun and abbreviated as CZK, like the US dollars is abbreviated US.
Quickly Convert Dollar/Pound into Koruna
Since I am from Canada I know the Canadian dollar exchange rate very well. And I can quickly convert from Canadian dollars to Czech Koruna. Because the US Dollar and the Euro are very close to the Canadian dollar, for a quick estimate of price, my formula will work for you if you are from EU or USA or Canada.
Basically 1 CDN = 20 CZK. So all you need to do is remove the last digit and then divide by 2. For example, if something is 500 CZK, you remove the last digit (0) and divide by 2. 500 CZK= 25 Canadian dollars.
The EU and US Dollar are close to the Canadian dollar. So this method will work for you with those currencies. It is great for getting a quick estimate of price. For example, when the Taxi driver extends out his hand and asks for 800 CZK you can quickly estimate that it is around 40 US$.
To Exchange Your Money There Are Three Options
Each has their pro's and con's.
Exchange Before You Leave Home
This is the safest way. Coming to Prague you will have bills in hand ready for anything. No stress, no pain.
But there are drawbacks. You will receive a poor exchange rate. The Koruna is a not an international currency and banks outside of the Czech Republic do not hold it in abundance. So they will charge you for the convenience. Secondly, you will need to carry around all that cash. If you lose your wallet, your bag, or your pants, the money is gone.
Exchange When You Arrive in Czech Republic
This is a good option if you have a popular currency like the US dollar or Euro. With these major currencies you will get a good exchange rate. But if you come with Somalia Shillings then you could be out of luck. Better exchange that in your home country. The only piece of advice I would give is: do not exchange your money at the airport – they do not have competitive rates. Better to wait until you get into Prague city where there is competition amongst currency exchanges so you will get a better rate.
Amazingly there is a problem with tourists getting ripped off from people exchanging currency in the streets. I find this obvious, but if a stranger walks up to you and offers you to exchange currency then do not do it. Go to a real currency exchange to exchange your money.
Use a Bank Machine When You Arrive In Prague
This is my preferred method. After many years of traveling around I found that in the end this method is the best. No need to worry about getting the exchange done before you leave, deciding how much to exchange and then running out of money anyway.
You arrive, find a bank machine and take out just enough for the next few days. That way you do not carry a whole bunch of cash, you do not need to compare rates, and you will not be left with a whole bunch of foreign currency if you overestimate.
Of course the drawback is that you are probably not getting the best rate. And there is usually a service charge for using a foreign bank machine. For me, with a Canadian bank account, the service charge is $5.00 Canadian. If I take out enough money for a couple of days then $5.00 is a small price to pay for the convenience. With this method you can travel anywhere without ever having to think about currency exchange again. By using bank machine and paying a $5.00 fee you are suddenly in a world with one currency.
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